Live Events

4th Annual AHU Doctor of Physical Therapy Research Night

Registration Fee: FREE! Hours: 2.00 April 17, 2024
Promotion Code: Apply
April 17, 2024
5:30 PM - 7:35 PM
Virtual Platform: TEAMS
J. Liphart PT, DHSc, NCS; B. Young PT, DPT, PCS; E. Clark PT, DPT, EdD, NCS, RYT 200; L. Podschun PT, DPT, PhD, COMT; J. Emde PT, DPT, CSCS; L. Lopez PT, DPT, CCS; M. Samsam MD, PhD; A. Swarowsky-Martin, PhD
Dr. Elizabeth Clark
3030 Potomac Avenue
Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22305-3085
Continuing Education Hours: 2, Category: General, Expires: 12/31/2024 CE Credits: 2, Category: General, Expires: 12/31/2024

Graduating students and faculty will co-present faculty-driven research, via virtual platform, to promote scholarly inquiry, professional discovery, and networking. The intended audience are practicing PT clinicians that seek to infuse their practice with research, and may want to generate future scholarly agendas in collaboration with AHU DPT students and faculty.

Upon completion of this research event, attendees will:

  1. Embrace the importance of evidence informed practice.
  2. Successfully network with AHU DPT faculty and future graduates in a professional forum.
  3. Seek to integrated evidence to inform practice and/or future scholarly agendas.

Target Audience: Physical Therapists, Community CI's and Clinical Partners


This event will begin at 5:30 with an Introduction and Welcome by Dr. Elizabeth Clark

Perceptions of Graduate Health Professions Faculty and Students Regarding Academic Advisement and Predictors of Academic Success

The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of graduate health professions faculty and students regarding predictors of academic success and student retention specifically within the physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and physician assistant (PA) programs. The study was a descriptive qualitative study that utilized semi structured interviews to describe participants’ perspectives on academic success and advisement. Content analysis used open coding to categorize data into key words and constructs and emergent themes were identified.

  • Jodi Liphart PT, DHSc, NCS
  • William B. Young III, PT, DPT, PCS
  • AHU DPT students: Aliya Benjamin, Makayla Rymkos, Rebekah McKinney, Daniel Feliciano

Utilizing Brain Computer Interface – Virtual Reality – Functional Electrical Stimulation for Motor Rehabilitation in Individuals Post Stroke: A Case Study

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and many survivors sustain severe sensorimotor dysfunction.  Brain-Computer-Interface-Virtual-Reality-Functional-Electrical-Stimulation ( BCI-VR-FES) is an innovative rehabilitation modality aimed to improve function in individuals post-stroke. However, wide variability exists in the literature regarding dosage for this intervention, with many studies providing intervention daily for months. Our interdisciplinary team (physical therapy, medicine, neuroscience, and neurotechnology) developed a protocol to promote neuroplasticity and motor learning in a clinically acceptable timeframe. Therefore, our primary objective was to evaluate the impact of 12, one-hour sessions of BCI-VR-FES, over six weeks in an individual post-stroke.

  • Elizabeth Clark PT, DPT, EdD, NCS, RYT 200
  • AHU DPT Students: David Bishop, Matthew Cranston, Aaron Mora Hernandez, Bruce Holloman, Chase Stellinga

Physical Therapy Implications for Exercise Prescription and Outcome Measurement in Long Covid: A Scoping Review

Long-COVID is a condition in which people previously infected with COVID-19 have new or continued persistent signs & symptoms lasting 4 weeks or more after infection. The most common and debilitating symptoms include post-exertional malaise, fatigue, brain fog, and dizziness. While physical activity can be beneficial for patients with long-COVID, the rehabilitation can be difficult. There are currently no standard physical therapy protocols for patients with long-COVID. The aim of this scoping review is to synthesize the current available literature to generate evidence-based physical therapy recommendations for treatment of individuals with long-COVID in an outpatient setting.

  • Laura Lopez, PT, DPT, CCS
  • Elizabeth Clark PT, DPT, EdD, NCS, RYT 200
  • AHU DPT Students: Daphne Olsen, Eshak Abdalla, Daniel Salas

PT 4 Parki - Gait training meta-analysis based on APTA’s CPG for Parkinson’s disease: Can a dose-response be determined?

Emerging evidence has shown the efficacy of the physical therapy (PT) treatment over gait deficits in people with PD. The American Association of Physical Therapy (APTA) published the clinical practice guidelines (CPG) based on a systematic review involving the physical therapist management of these individuals, in addition to providing practice recommendations. Based on high-quality studies, physical therapists are strongly encouraged to implement gait training to improve stride length, gait speed, walking outcomes and balance in people with PD. Although the results of the high-quality studies showed improvements is walking outcomes in people with PD, the CPG was unable to determine or describe the optimal gait training dosage due to the variety of clinical presentations amongst those with PD. Therefore, The purpose of this study was to 1) identify the effect of gait interventions on functional gait outcomes (gait speed, mobility, and walking endurance) and, 2) identify if there is a dose-response relationship between the total volume of gait training on functional gait outcomes in people with PD.

  • Alessandra Swarowsky-Martin PT, PhD
  • AHU DPT Students: Amanda Ortiz, Taylor Trinh, Kyle Krietemeyer

Charcot Marie Tooth Types I, II, III and PT Interventions

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is the most common form of inherited peripheral neuropathies that affects both motor and sensory nerves. Major genes involved in CMT include the P0, PMP22, Cx32, EGR2, and Periaxin. CMT individuals have progressive distal to proximal weakness due to muscle atrophy, contractures, deformities of the hand and foot such as pes cavus, loss of deep tendon reflexes, distal sensory deficits, gait impairment, loss of balance and overall functional decline. Since there is no specific treatment for CMT, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pain management, and surgery to correct foot deformities are among multiple interventions to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Following literature review of several evidence-based practices we developed a 12-week plan proposal of care for adults with CMT to improve their strength, mobility, balance, and overall function.

  • Mohtashem Samsam MD, PhD
  • AHU DPT Students: Lucas Fischer, Alejandra Garces, Christie Tursi

Which Outcome Measures Most Clearly Align with Specific Objectives Related to Global Service-Learning? A Scoping Review

Healthcare academic programs and accrediting bodies mandate learning competencies in patient diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  Global service learning experiences are one method by which academic programs help improve competency in these areas; however, optimal methods by which to objectively assess increasing proficiency in these areas are not well understood.  Thus, the purpose of this scoping review is to critically evaluate the objective outcome measures commonly employed in association with global service learning in order to assess changes in skills such as cultural competence and empathy that support DEI initiatives.

  • Jeff Emde PT, DPT, CSCS
  • Laura Podschun PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, CMT
  • AHU DPT Students: Daljenny Acosta-Hernandez,  Samantha Nivison

About Our Research Project Mentors:

Dr. Elizabeth Clark is a Professor of Physical Therapy at AdventHealth University. Dr. Clark has a bachelor’s degree in biology from State University of New York (SUNY): Geneseo, a masters and doctoral degree in physical therapy from Upstate Medical University, and an EdD in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College. She has been board certified in neurologic physical therapy since 2008, and her primary areas of interest in clinical practice, teaching, and research include both neurologic physical therapy as well as leadership training and practices in health care. Dr. Clark has previously provided pro-bono physical therapy services and education locally and internationally in the area of neurology. Dr. Clark has published manuscripts in the areas of leadership, international service learning, and neurologic physical therapy.

Dr. Jeff Emde has served as the Director of Clinical Education at AHU’s DPT Program since August 2014. He completed his PT degree from Andrews University in 1996, and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of New England in 2016. Dr. Emde worked as a physical therapist for two years at Florida Hospital, prior to moving to Maine. In Maine, he worked as a physical therapist, Director of Rehabilitation, and Director of Outpatient Services for a local medical system, before moving back to Florida to assist with the development and ongoing activities of AHU DPT Program. During his career, he has always had a passion for clinical education, serving as a clinical instructor and Center Coordinator of Clinical Education at multiple health care institutions. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has completed both the American Physical Therapy Association’s Basic and Advanced Credentialed Clinical Instructor Programs. His area of clinical interest revolves around the care of orthopedic patients and his research interests include curriculum development for clinical faculty, factors impacting the decision of which Doctor of Physical Therapy program a prospective student will attend, and the impact of intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing student success in clinical education.

Dr. Jodi Liphart is an Associate Professor with over 25 years of both clinical and academic experience. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from The Ohio State University, her Master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Central Florida and a Doctorate in Health Sciences (emphasis on motor control and motor learning) from the University of St. Augustine. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy (NCS). Her area of clinical expertise and research interests involve patients with neurologic disorders especially patients post stroke or patients with balance or vestibular dysfunctions.

Dr. Laura Lopez earned her BSEd in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Georgia and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Miami. She is a Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Clinical Specialist and a level two Credentialed Clinical Instructor. Her primary area of clinical expertise is acute care including critical care as well as both inpatient and outpatient cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. In addition, she has administrative and program development experience as an acute care manager in an academic medical center. Dr. Lopez’s teaching and research interests include acute care and interprofessional practice especially bridging the gap from the classroom to the hospital.

Dr. Laura Podschun earned her BS in Microbiology from University of Florida, Master of Physical Therapy from Hahnemann University, Doctor of Physical Therapy from Arcadia University, and a PhD in Physical Therapy at Nova Southeastern University. She is board certified in orthopedic physical therapy and a certified orthopedic manual therapist. Her primary areas of interest in clinical practice, teaching, and research include both orthopedic physical therapy and Global Service Learning experiences. With orthopedic physical therapy, her primary areas of research focus include running-related injuries and implementation science to improve patient outcomes.  Dr. Podschun developed the AdventHealth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency program in 2009 and continues to teach continuing education modules for the residents.

Dr. Alessandra Swarowsky-Martin earned her Bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy at the Lutheran University of Brazil in 2000. She also has a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships, one in Neuroscience (in Brazil) and the other one in Motor Control at the University of Miami – Miller School of Medicine. While in Brazil, she was an Associate Professor at the Physical Therapy Department at the Santa Catarina State University from 2010 to 2019. Before coming to the DPT Program at AHU, Dr. Swarowsky was an Associate professor in the DPT Program at the University of Jamestown (North Dakota) from 2019 to 2021. She obtained her Florida PT license in 2022. Her area of expertise is Neurological Rehabilitation, especially movement disorders, and movement analysis. Dr. Swarowsky has published several manuscripts in peer-review journals and her primary research interest is Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Mohtashem Samsam is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Director of research at AdventHealth University (AHU). He joined AHU in August 2020. Dr. Samsam studied Medicine in English language program of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Medical University, in Szeged, Hungary (1991- 1996) and received his PhD in Neurosciences from the Dep. of Cell biology and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Salamanca, Spain, in 2002. He did his post-doc studies in Developmental Neurobiology in the Neurology University Clinic of Wuerzburg University, Germany (1999- 2002).  Publishing several articles in headache and migraine during his MD and PhD studies he continued his post-doc studies examining the mechanism of neurodegeneration in animal models of inherited peripheral neuropathies and treatment of Charcot-Marie Tooth disorders using gene therapy and alteration of immune response.  Prior to AHU, Dr. Samsam was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Central Florida (2004-2020), teaching anatomy, clinical neuroanatomy, and clinical neuroscience to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

Dr. William Young earned his BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Central Florida and his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Arcadia University. Dr. Young has extensive experience in private practice as an owner of a pediatric clinic and consulting business. He has also experience in acute care, outpatient and as a Director of Rehabilitation. His primary teaching areas are pediatrics, physical therapy evaluation and examination, and physical therapy treatment interventions. He has considerable experience in teaching and course development as an instructor in a physical therapist assistant program. His areas of research interest include pediatric health and wellness, evidence-based education, and the use of technology in physical therapy.

Continuing Education Credit:

Licensed PT attendees that wish to be awarded CE MUST provide license number upon registration, and MUST complete port test upon completion of the event. CE will only be awarded to those registrants that attend for the entire presentation time, AND complete the post test.

Continuing Education

Completion Requirements: Licensed PT and PTA attendees that wish to be awarded CE MUST provide license number upon registration. To receive continuing education credit commensurate with the credit awarded for this activity, the participant must:

  • Sign-in prior to the start time and attend the full activity session.

  • Pass the online test if applicable.

  • Complete and submit the on-line evaluation.

Certificates of Completion: will be available to print immediately upon finishing the completion requirements. You are encouraged to print and save your certificate for your portfolio as required by your licensing body. Interdisciplinary accredited activities, activities having multiple accreditors, will be listed individually on the Certificate of Completion.

Conflicts of Interest and Commercial Support: There have been no conflicts of interest disclosed by planners, authors, or presenters; nor has there been disclosure of any relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies or their products pertaining to this activity.

Non-Endorsement of Products: AdventHealth University (AHU), as an accredited provider, has demonstrated proficient experience and viable resources to provide for valid and reliable evaluation of CE activities. The accuracy of the facts and opinions contained in this activity are the responsibility of the presenters/author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of AHU or its sponsors. Practitioners should consult primary resources, state regulations, and their healthcare facility policies and procedures for specific application of said content to their local situation. AHU does not imply that there is real or implied endorsement of any product, service, or company neither referred to in this cpresentation nor of any company subsidizing costs related to this activity. All information contained in this activity is for educational purposes only. Our host site, Adventhealth University Division echelon® chooses full disclosure with all of their education providers and with each activity to report any author conflicts of interest or commercial affiliation or support in conjunction with any activity.

Electronic Record Retention: All activity records are kept on file for a minimum of six (6) years.